Tristan Harris essay on attention hijacking and ever so dark patterns

Human attention is a scarce commodity

I heard about Tristan Harris through Time well spent which some people have been sharing a while ago. Kept meaning to read more about him and the essay he wrote. Its a excellent read and well worth reading. A few times while reading it, I wanted to annotate it some how. I know the w3C have finally sorted out the spec and I could do it via Diigo or even Wallabag if I wanted to; but sharing it seems to need more research on my part.

So instead I thought I’d half blog about it while copying the main points (once again you should read the whole thing yourself). Tristan has sectioned the points so I’ll copy that.

But I did want to say I find it interesting that Adrian Westaway from Special Projects and Tristan Harris are both magicians. The link between magic and design is a interesting one.

Hijack #1: If You Control the Menu, You Control the Choices

Western Culture is built around ideals of individual choice and freedom. Millions of us fiercely defend our right to make “free” choices, while we ignore how we’re manipulated upstream by limited menus we didn’t choose.

This is exactly what magicians do. They give people the illusion of free choice while architecting the menu so that they win, no matter what you choose. I can’t emphasize how deep this insight is.

When people are given a menu of choices, they rarely ask:

  • “what’s not on the menu?”
  • “why am I being given these options and not others?”
  • “do I know the menu provider’s goals?”
  • “is this menu empowering for my original need, or are the choices actually a distraction?” (e.g. an overwhelmingly array of toothpastes)

Absolutely, I do this a lot because I’m wondering how to break the system or hijack for my own needs. Usually when going to restaurants I need to hack it because I have so many allergies. If I didn’t hack it then I’d be pretty much dead.

I also find patterns quite interesting and can identify them quickly, so my tesco monthly shop will have every 2-3 months a deal on toilet rolls because I assume thats when they get the new stock in and need to shift some of the older ones. This funny example of understanding allows me to hack the system for my own needs.

I also tend to ignore all the recommendation stuff including the instant reply stuff I seen google has added to gmail. I also start to wonder more and more how this data is being mined to generate these results. Of course I got a big interest in big/linked data, data ethics and opinionated software.

Hijack #2: Put a Slot Machine In a Billion Pockets

One of the most tricky things I’ve seen many people try and deal with is not checking their phones and when they do, they do for what reason? To check out someone has liked something they have done. This comes straight out of the Sherry Turkle’s book Alone Together.

If you’re an app, how do you keep people hooked? Turn yourself into a slot machine.

But here’s the unfortunate truth — several billion people have a slot machine their pocket:

When we pull our phone out of our pocket, we’re playing a slot machineto see what notifications we got.

  • When we pull to refresh our email, we’re playing a slot machine to see what new email we got.
  • When we swipe down our finger to scroll the Instagram feed, we’replaying a slot machine to see what photo comes next.
  • When we swipe faces left/right on dating apps like Tinder, we’re playing a slot machine to see if we got a match.
  • When we tap the # of red notifications, we’re playing a slot machine to what’s underneath.

It takes some serious will to break away from the slot machines, especially when every once in a while it actually pays out (as such).

bThis is very much a dark pattern or dark art which drives a huge economy. Notifications like the breaking news banner on news sites tap right into the dopamine sender and the only way to break this is being more conscious. The truth is unsettling and we may not be able to easily change this without both sides being more aware/conscious of this all. Tristan points the finger at Google and Apple and yes they have responsibility but it can’t come from them alone.

Hijack #3: Fear of Missing Something Important (FOMSI)

Creating, inducing or manufacturing FOMO (fear of missing out) is pretty dark stuff.

Another way apps and websites hijack people’s minds is by inducing a “1% chance you could be missing something important.”

If I convince you that I’m a channel for important information, messages, friendships, or potential sexual opportunities — it will be hard for you to turn me off, unsubscribe, or remove your account — because (aha, I win) you might miss something important:

  • This keeps us subscribed to newsletters even after they haven’t delivered recent benefits (“what if I miss a future announcement?”)
  • This keeps us “friended” to people with whom we haven’t spoke in ages (“what if I miss something important from them?”)
  • This keeps us swiping faces on dating apps, even when we haven’t even met up with anyone in a while (“what if I miss that one hot match who likes me?”
  • This keeps us using social media (“what if I miss that important news story or fall behind what my friends are talking about?”)

I personally don’t subscribe to a lot of things because I’m wary of the effect of FOMO. I also don’t follow a lot people on Twitter because I don’t use twitter in that way much to the annoyance of some of my friends and followers. I do have a lot of friend connections on Facebook but also don’t read the timeline (its not a timeline, rather a curated feed for you based on algorithms and what FB thinks you want, remember point 1 about what the provider wants out of the deal?)

My friend Jon Rogers left twitter saying I was right about twitter (I can’t find any trace of him on twitter too). I wish I could find the conversation/blog (which seems to be down), but I partly blamed the fact he was using the official twitter client which would do things which were not to the benefit of him in anyway. Similarly Oli who left FB and then joined again after feeling FOMO.

Final example is why I left Bumble; I recognised the pattern of FOMSI being manufactured by Bumble and decided I wasn’t interested in being involved. Its a shame because I liked the concept but it was ruined for me by this forced FOSMI.

Hijack #4: Social Approval

We’re all vulnerable to social approval. The need to belong, to be approved or appreciated by our peers is among the highest human motivations. But now our social approval is in the hands of tech companies (like when we’re tagged in a photo).

Social approval is massive and drives us to do things which we wouldn’t normally do if we stopped and thought. I’d add this mixed with FOMO are a pretty lethal combination.

I wish I could filter out the likes on FB which clutter up my notifications, the little hit of dopamine just isn’t worth it. But then again I also like to click like to almost give my approval. Maybe I should stop doing this? This would also stop helping out the FB algorithm with positive reactions, now that can’t be a bad thing?

Of course social approval goes way beyond the likes and into the scoring stuff which I have talked about before.

Hijack #5: Social Reciprocity (Tit-for-tat)

Now this one really bugs me… I understand reciprocity theory and how it can be hijacked to con/cheat people out of something they wouldn’t normally give. Influence is a great book which I’d highly recommend to everyone.

We are vulnerableto needing to reciprocate others’ gestures. But as with Social Approval, tech companies now manipulate how often we experience it.

In some cases, it’s by accident. Email, texting and messaging apps are social reciprocity factories. But in other cases, companies exploit this vulnerability on purpose.

There was a period of time when the laws of social reciprocity seemed to dictate if you follow someone, you need to follow you back. This was rubbish of course, but pushed by twitters own system which encouraged you to follow back with one click. Twitter was a async follow but the service was changed to encourage something similar to a friend request later – most likely once the money became more important.

Of course Tristan is dead right about linkedin being a shocking example of this. I almost have to give them a award for their use of dark patterns to get you to do more within Linkedin.

orginal LinkedIn wants as many people creating social obligations for each other as possible, because each time they reciprocate (by accepting a connection, responding to a message, or endorsing someone back for a skill) they have to come back through linkedin.com where they can get people to spend more time.

Like Facebook, LinkedIn exploits an asymmetry in perception. When you receive an invitation from someone to connect, you imagine that person making a conscious choice to invite you, when in reality, they likely unconsciously responded to LinkedIn’s list of suggested contacts. In other words, LinkedIn turns your unconscious impulses (to “add” a person) into new social obligations that millions of people feel obligated to repay. All while they profit from the time people spend doing it.

Hijack #6: Bottomless bowls, Infinite Feeds, and Autoplay

Oh boy this winds me up big time, endless feeds. Its very similar to the all you can eat buffets. The quality of the things you are consuming are dubious at best and although you started out with something decent it suddenly drops in quality or go so far off the original purpose or reason.

Another way to hijack people is to keep them consuming things, even when they aren’t hungry anymore.

How? Easy. Take an experience that was bounded and finite, and turn it into a bottomless flowthat keeps going.

Cornell professor Brian Wansink demonstrated this in his study showing you can trick people into keep eating soup by giving them a bottomless bowl that automatically refills as they eat. With bottomless bowls, people eat 73% more calories than those with normal bowls and underestimate how many calories they ate by 140 calories.

Tech companies exploit the same principle. News feeds are purposely designed to auto-refill with reasons to keep you scrolling, and purposely eliminate any reason for you to pause, reconsider or leave.

This is partly why I prefer to read RSS than get the endless supply of stuff from Google, etc. At least there is a bottom and you can see a number of unread items. With these news feeds, its endless and the quality or value of the content is dependent on the agenda or services current goals (that can be as simple as this advertiser wants to pay us lots of money).

Endless also sucks you into the world that its only available now/its temporary and next time you look it will be gone or different. This is why I use services like wallabag, pocket or even youtube watch it later. If its worth saving its worth spending some time on and not being rushed to the next thing. Yes its hard and there is a social pressure to have watched or read it quickly (skimmed) to keep up with the conversation. In fact coming back to something in twitter usually causes confusion if you come back to a post a few days later. This is why I tend to just blog it to give it context and the effort once I read it fully.

Endless scroll is becoming a bit of thing now too, similar to the swipe forever stuff. Don’t get me started about auto play video, which I have seen cause much problems with presentations in conferences; as you can imagine

Hijack #7: Instant Interruption vs. “Respectful” Delivery

Companies know that messages that interrupt people immediately are more persuasive at getting people to respond than messages delivered asynchronously (like email or any deferred inbox).

Given the choice, Facebook Messenger (or WhatsApp, WeChat or SnapChat for that matter) would prefer to design their messaging system tointerrupt recipients immediately (and show a chat box) instead of helping users respect each other’s attention.

In other words, interruption is good for business.

It’s also in their interest to heighten the feeling of urgency and social reciprocity. For example, Facebook automatically tells the sender when you “saw” their message, instead of letting you avoid disclosing whether you read it(“now that you know I’ve seen the message, I feel even more obligated to respond.”) By contrast, Apple more respectfully lets users toggle “Read Receipts” on or off.

I do generally avoid a lot of these instant messaging systems but even those I use have included this way (Gtalk, Wire and even Signal). If I can turn it off I do but I have observed how Facebook now throws up notification as a window above other stuff like a instant message. Lets not forget those horrible chat heads too.

Respectful delivery is getting rare and even when they are, you need to work at it. I feel quite lucky that I’m running Ubuntu as my host operating system which gives me complete control over the notifications but this doesn’t help when looking at a browser tab like Facebook, which wants to dominate (trust me this is the right word) the view. This is also another reason why I don’t have Facebook on my phones/tablets and why I limit messengers permissions.

Hijack #8: Bundling Your Reasons with Their Reasons

In the physical world of grocery stories, the #1 and #2 most popular reasons to visit are pharmacy refills and buying milk. But grocery stores want to maximize how much people buy, so they put the pharmacy and the milk at the back of the store.

In other words, they make the thing customers want (milk, pharmacy) inseparable from what the business wants. If stores were truly organized to support people, they would put the most popular items in the front.

This is bloody annoying and one of the reasons why a lot of apps dont really care or advertise direct links into parts of there systems. This is why I have to keep FB in a tab otherwise everytime I login, I would need to go via the news feed each time, a total waste of my time.

The whole point of the web is not having to go on a journey each time. Remember when you saw VR shopping malls and thought wtf? Well thats pretty much the same coming back to haunt us all, for whose benefit? Certainly not yours!

Hijack #9: Inconvenient Choices

This is a recurring dark pattern, the roach motel.

We’re told that it’s enough for businesses to “make choices available.”

“If you don’t like it you can always use a different product.”
“If you don’t like it, you can always unsubscribe.”
“If you’re addicted to our app, you can always uninstall it from your phone.”

Businesses naturally want to make the choices they want you to make easier, and the choices they don’t want you to make harder. Magicians do the same thing. You make it easier for a spectator to pick the thing you want them to pick, and harder to pick the thing you don’t.

For example, NYTimes.com let’s you “make a free choice” to cancel your digital subscription. But instead of just doing it when you hit “Cancel Subscription,” they force you to call a phone number that’s only open at certain times.

Hijack #10: Forecasting Errors, “Foot in the Door” strategies

People don’t intuitively forecast the true cost of a click when it’s presented to them. Sales people use “foot in the door” techniques by asking for a small innocuous request to begin with (“just one click”), and escalating from there (“why don’t you stay awhile?”). Virtually all engagement websites use this trick. Imagine if web browsers and smartphones, the gateways through which people make these choices, were truly watching out for people and helped them forecast the consequences of clicks (based on real data about what it actually costs most people?). That’s why I add “Estimated reading time” to the top of my posts. When you put the “true cost” of a choice in front of people, you’re treating your users or audience with dignity and respect.
This is tied to so many of the things said previously. One of the useful things I found is the putting things into wallabag and pocket is I can manager my own time; and not be forced into making a poor decision under time pressure
The Hurrah – A sudden crisis or change of events forces the victim to act immediately.
 
Its clear most humans do not make good decisions under pressure and scammers, con-artists, the systems we use know this too well.

There is so much more to discuss including the how to fix this all… but thats for another blog post…

On returning to facebook…

Twitter makes me like people I’ve never met and Facebook makes me hate people I know in real life
Twitter makes me like people I’ve never met and Facebook makes me hate people I know in real life – agreed!

Interesting to see my friend Oli returning to Facebook after his decision to erase himself from it. It almost sounds like he’s returning home?

Nearly 4 months later, I’m returning, in fact there’s a good chance you’re seeing this on Facebook. This is however not without careful thought.

Oli then outlines some good points including…

The feelings of being disconnected and isolated, are well founded, but its also very easy to get sucked into the timeline and up yourself. Its something I have avoided as I can just imagine how much time gets lost there. I wonder if the  Timeline is the new and even more destructive farmville?

As I said previously I removed Facebook from my mobile devices and only look at it every 2-3 days mainly for booking my place on Volleyball sessions (Yes so popular volleyabll is in Manchester that you can’t just turn up on the door). I also found the ical option useful for keeping me a breast of event/calendar invites. They show up on my calendar but then I have to go to Facebook to actually accept, decline or find out more.

I prefer to subvert Facebook than ignore it, which means I still don’t post photos or write new stuff there. Its certainly a dumping ground for things available else where online.

Oli isn’t wrong but there is a pragmatic way which involves having a account and using it in a smart way understanding the issues which come with it. Something like a drunk uncle at a family party, the one which nobody wants to be left alone with after dark I joke of course but if you ask me if facebook is equivalent to a creepy uncle? I would say that’s only the start of the comparisons. In years to come, (15 years I say) it will seem much like a crazy period of time where we didn’t think about what we trust so much?

It wasn’t so surprising to see him back… Although I still (currently) prefer Twitter (even with all the nonsense they have done to support their revenue growth).

Adam Curtis’ #Bitterlake today on BBC iplayer?

Adam Curtis’ Bitter Lake  (previewed on Charlie Brooker’s yearly wipe) is on BBC iPlayer today from 9pm. I don’t think I’ll be watching at that time (find it interesting there is a time, but I guess there has to be one), due to the Techgrumps podcast. But I’m sure to check it out soon enough.

Politicians used to have the confidence to tell us stories that made sense of the chaos of world events. But now there are no big stories and politicians react randomly to every new crisis – leaving us bewildered and disorientated.

Bitter Lake is a new, adventurous and epic film by Adam Curtis that explains why the big stories that politicians tell us have become so simplified that we can’t really see the world any longer.

Funny enough today I started the morning with this related playlist…

I was a little peed off that the doc about subliminal advertising’s results were split across podcasts… Could have done with a warning really! One for the physical playlist.

Apple have lost the plot

iPad 2 as a Video Camera

I have been meaning to write about those disgusting Apple adverts (yes disgusting, I was almost sick in my mouth when I first saw it) but been so busy, then Maggie reminded me at Hacked.io about what I wanted to say.

Fast Design write up pretty much how I feel

Watch the ad closely for me. As we’re told that products are what matter, we see a series of shots in which people actively turn away from life to engage with their technology.

  • A woman closes her eyes on the subway to soak in electronic music.
  • A room of students looks down at their desks instead of at their teacher.
  • A parent and child cuddle, focused on a screen that’s so powerful it illuminates the kid’s face.
  • A couple kisses in the rain, then immediately turn away to look at a phone.
  • A tourist opts to FaceTime instead of bathing in visceral, smoky yakitori.

In what should be a warm, humanizing montage, people are constantly directing their attention away from one another and the real, panoramic world to soak in pixels. They’re choosing the experience of their products over the experience of other people several times in quick succession. And Apple has a warm voice in the background, goading us on.

Now I’m fully aware most adverts are like this but frankly for Apple, this is bad bad news.

On top of that, the fact Apple are advertising this factor, is worst still. So much for creativity…!

Just to be clear the best adverts in this class were the Orange adverts, which never showed the actual device but rather the effect of the device. Now unfortunately Orange or rather EE have switched to another style which isn’t much better than most.

The technology should be the glue not the end point. However Apple want you to marvel at there devices. I’m not certain when this changed but its certainly changed for the worst.

Have to be clear I’m not against devices, heck if you follow this down the line you can end up somewhere with Sherry Turkle.

Our devices and software are great but I have to echo some of the thoughts about using your mobile while dating and dare I say it, some of the Orange Cinema adverts. Don’t let your device get in the way of a great time. No matter how pretty it maybe.

Its not going to take 20 years… Its outdated and shockingly backwards already…

POF cleans up and advertises in unique locations

POF on OKC

Well I’m hearing Plenty of Fun, I mean Fish is cleaning up its hookup image

POF is blocking hookups based on age difference and message wording, resulting in immediate bans, Intimate Encounters going away, 17% of the time we can pick the exact person you will end up dating, 70% of POF use is via a mobile phone.

Markus says, “Unfortunately about 2% of men started to use POF as more of a hookup site mostly due the the casual nature of cell phone use.”

POF have made systematic changes too… Directly from Markus the founder

1. Any first contact between users that contains sexual references will not be sent. Anyone who tries to get around this rule will be deleted without warning. This rule has actually been in effect since last month and it’s made the site so much better.

2. You can only contact people +/- 14 years of your age. There is no reason for a 50 year old man to contact a 18 year old women. The majority of messages sent outside those age ranges are all about hookups. Anyone who tries to get around this rule will get deleted.

3. Intimate Encounters will go away in the next few months. There are 3.3 Million people who use the site every day, of those there are only 6,041 single women looking for Intimate Encounters. Of those 6,041 women, the ones with hot pictures are mostly men pretending to be women. Intimate Encounters on POF can be summed up as a bunch of horny men talking to a bunch of horny men pretending to be women.

In short the vast majority of people will not be impacted. This is because the vast majority of people are not going around spamming women saying “let’s have sex tonight”. I can’t change POF alone, I need your help to get the word out there that POF is all about relationships!

So I assume with the clean up, POF needs to shout about the change… Shout about it they do, so much than you can see the advert on OKCupid.com, another free online dating site. Weird but I guess it makes sense, OKC is a dating site with a lot of daters on board.

Welcome to the world of the implicit

Advertising?

A while back I wrote a blog about how implicit data is the dark matter to the explicit. I also write about it in my wired/tired/expired post.

Well I thought its about time I started writing why the implicit is so rich and may become the dominating model in the future. Of course if you know anything about me and the BBC R&D project Perceptive Media, I have an interest in this area, I actually talked about context before but didn’t really make it clear that context is a part of the implicit dataset.

It started with personalised ads, currently sits with Google Now and ends with the end of internet advertising as a thing.

Yes I said it… The end of advertising… (which isn’t the same as the end of marketing btw)

Most people now prefer targeted advertising than wholesale advertising but hate the idea of minority report’s advertising nightmare. What was missing was the context.

Duhhh… In the future, surely a smart advert wouldn’t show tom cruise cars and expensive gifts while he was running down the shopping centre trying to escape. Yes it sounds pretty dumb when you add the context to the scene. Maybe showing Tom visions of holidays and trainers would make much more sense.

The end of advertising might seem a little premature but look at Google now. Then imagine Google now serving up adverts instead…

Double Duhhh… of course Google will be using the same algorithm to serve adverts if it can be proven to be even a slight bit more effective.

Although its far from perfect, the fact is with enough data and a insight into your context and implicit motivations. Google really can start to serve up adverts for things I want before I realise I actually want it (sounds freakish but its already happening). And if that fills you with fear, you better get ready as its not easily stopped. This might rely on the likes of our government not being greedy and short sighted, actually reflect the good of the people who put them there.

I’m thinking about a future where its too expensive and too inefficient to do the mass/wholesale advertising…A future where adblockers and VRM – Vendor Relationship Management is the norm, people pay to never see the adverts not targeted at you. Yes a bit of a dream but you got to dream a little bigger darling.

I have been using the term, Micro Data which is a specific part of the Big Data puzzle. Micro data is the implicit data, the data which is personal and we generate all the time. Its that Microdata which will power the next generation of services, apps and products. You can clearly see why I’m at the Quantified Self conference

The things Hugh Garry says

Recently Hugh Garry has been writing in his blog more often than usual. Not sure what has prompted him but he’s writing some amazing stuff. Everytime I read something I want to comment or blog it straight away, but I’ve decided to take a few bits and comment on them here.

From Rules of watching a movie

Switching ‘on’ your phone during a movie is something that the film industry is going to have to get used to. It’s a new rule of cinema – people like to share their lives and that includes capturing screen shots of the film they are watching – it’s happening and it’s creating spreadable media.

I hate it when people turn on there phone so you can see the glow of their screens in the darken cinema but love it or hate it, its not going away. Its actually spreading.

I watched Argo yesterday as part of the salford cinema club. In the darken cinema, you could see people sharing thoughts and the like. Ok no one was pointing the phone at the screen but they might as well have. I really wanted to capture the new anti-piracy advert because I kid you not most of the cinema was laughing out loud when it came on the screen. At that moment I had to resist the instant temptation to tweet it.

Capturing the anti-piracy advert surely can’t be bad? Its not like I paid to watch this propaganda. In fact it leads nicely on to Hugh’s next blog…

From Banksy on Advertising

On Friday night I stumbled upon this great quote from Banksy on advertising via the excellent The Fox is Black. Wish I’d had it in time for the lecture.

“People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.

You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.

Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.

You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs. Banksy”

Hugh and ultimately Bankey is right. F them. I’m sure I mentioned somewhere how growing up in Bristol. Clever defacements of public advertising was a everyday thing. It wasn’t just Banksy doing it, everyone was doing it. It was just a way of life. It wasn’t till I moved to London, that I noticed it was a uniquely Bristol thing.

Bristol has always been a counter-cultural city and the counter advertising has always had a big role. They are less a cheap shot and more a highly educated shot at some entities which need cutting down to size.

These entities are not above the law and specially above the law of common sense. No one is… The moment they think they are, things start to break down and get really ugly. I won’t mention the serious stuff which is happening about now.

Hugh’s Popup ideas shop concept is really interesting… and the weird thing is, I think I’ve been doing it without noticing.

I’m running a series of pop-up idea shops in Manchester and London. It’s not really a shop – more like me at a table in a cafe with an empty chair waiting to be filled. It’s free ideas for anyone who needs them. I’ve never done it before, and I don’t know if anyone else does them, but I’m giving it a go to see what happens.

So here’s the idea…

This Friday (November 16th) between 1pm and 4pm I’ll be sat at a table in Fyg on Tibb Street in the Northern Quarter, Manchester. If you need ideas, a new perspective or a fresh set of ears for whatever you’re working on then do drop in. You might be taking your first steps in digital or social media and don’t know where to start. You may need help shaping the story of your brand – come say hello. There’s no charge for this. I may be able to help you or I may not. Either way I’m happy to have a brew with someone new if you are.

I tend to push all my adhoc meetings to Fridays in the northern quarter. Some of the discussions are very relevant to my work in the BBC and sometimes its less so.

Of course FYG deli is a great place to do it and I’ll be there enjoying a deli platter and meeting with a few people while I sort out a few things to do with Perceptive Media.

Maybe I’ll sit next to Hugh to keep him company in between the quiet times.

Teresa Valdez Klein – The Art of Subvertising on Facebook

Teresa Valdez Klein is simply amazing for what she did with subverting advertising to tell people actually they are great and don’t need to conform to be great. In this Seattle ignite talk, she outlines her story and what drove her to do it. This is a must watch…

All of us have been conditioned from birth by our families, our friends, and marketers to want (or not want) certain things. And while I’m a big fan of Facebook, I have this theory that it reinforces social conditioning in some pretty insidious ways.
In this talk, I’ll explain how I used Facebook’s self-serve advertising platform to combat the social pressure cooker.

Inspirational… and bloody marvellous…!

Shes so right, being previously on the path to the dream family setup. Its hard for people to understand why you wouldn’t want what they have. Each person puts a tiny piece of social pressure on you, without even knowing it. But what really hurts is the constant hammering that your not this, your not that which advertising can deliver with sometimes devastating effects.

It take a very strong person to reject all this… But even better is when you can inspire others that actually they are great and will become amazing in there own right.

This is also why I love iamido.info

The best advert of 2010: Old Spice vs Thinkbox

Interesting the differences and between the number one voted adverts of 2010 online and offline. For me the Old Spice advert was extremely clever and certainly does something very different while the Thinkbox advert is what you would expect from TV advertising, fun, entertaining but thats it. Of course I’ve also not included the follow up ads for old spice which made the whole thing so much more interesting for us all.

The best of the web advertising, The Old Spice Advert

The best of TV advertising, Every home needs a harvey Advert

The boiler room battle of the highstreet retailers

Boiler room

This is a aledged memo to Best Buy staff. Best buy is like PC World in the UK but much cheaper. Even if its not quite real (I certainly think it is) its not uncommon in retail. I remember working at Starbucks, Showcase Cinemas and a few other retailers and having very simular type advice from managers and head office memos. A little while ago Best Buy also got into trouble recently for this and this last year.
Enjoy the “secret to screw you” memo, the boiler room style. Don't forget to check out the comments too.

1) Introduce the PSP (product service plan) in your presentation. Do not wait till the end.

Ex.
Sales Associate: I understand your daughter is going off to college, and while she'll be away we offer a protection plan that will cover anything that goes wrong with her computer/laptop.
Customer: No, I'm not interested

SA: Well it's something that you really should look into. Because if anything were ever to go wrong with your daughters computer she would have to take it in to be repaired. To give you an estimate, we charged $60/hr to decide what is wrong with it and $80/hr to fix it not including additional parts that may be needed.

C: I really don't need that, doesn't the computer come with a warranty.

S: Well that's a good question. This computer comes with a 6 month warranty but does not cover parts. Know here is a side by side comparison of what we cover and what the manufacturer covers.( hand customer comparison sheet and fill it out in front of him/her).

C: Ok, but I'm really not interested I just want the computer.

S: Are you sure, because you are really passing up a great deal here, if something ever happens while your daughter is away she could have no computer for up to a month.

C:No, I'm sure.

*1*At this time make sure to sell at least 3 accessories and if it is a laptop make sure to offer a bundle deal and a Platinum PSP**

*2*Once you have successfully added at least 3 accessories to the sale take the customer to a mobile register away from the floor traffic.**

*3*Since you Have been unsuccessful selling the Service Plan, Have another associate go with you to “help you” ring up the sale.**

*4*The other associate will help you tag team the customer. The other associates job at this point is to point out how amazing the computer is and what a great deal it is. Once you scan the computer/laptop the Kiosk will ask you if the customer wants the Service Plan. The accompanying sales associate will say, “hey did 'Joe' tell you about the Service Plan that covers anything that may go wrong with your computer…?**

*5* If your accompanying associate is unable to get the Service Plan then you must say, “I'm sorry I'm new here and there seems to be something wrong with my kiosk, I'll be right back with my supervisor and he will be able to fix it.”**

*6* You return with your Supervisor, and now You, the accompanying associate and your supervisor Tag Team the Customer Once again until the Service Plan is accepted by the Customer.**

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